Yapping Dogs Make Lousy Leaders

Yapping dogs make irritating leaders. Successful leaders don’t run around barking. 

Don’t aspire to lead because you want to tell people what to do.

Seek to release, not control.

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Talented people don’t enjoy being barked at.


Yapping leaders end up with de-energized teams. People stand around waiting for the latest round of barking.

You aren’t a leader if you spend your day barking orders.

Real challenge:

It’s easier, in the short-term, to bark an order than to release talent.

The real challenge of leadership is understanding people, not barking orders. Successful leaders explore and understand people’s talents and passions as they relate to organizational mission.

It’s seductively simple to say, “Just get out there and get the job done.”

It takes time and energy to explore and find alignment.


If you want people to bleed for you, bleed for them.

  1. Pour into others, if you expect them to pour out for you.
  2. Explore their interests, if you expect others to invest themselves in your organization.
  3. Describe success, not how to achieve it.
  4. Define roles and responsibilities. Give people a place.
  5. Keep your word and expect others to do the same.

Conversations about engagement often crack me up. We treat people like employees and expect them to act like owners. Frankly, engagement strategies are often self-serving attempts at getting more for less.

Personal illustration:

Money is never the final consideration when I commit to a client. You can’t buy my commitment. I give it.

You can’t buy someone’s heart. 

I commit to:

  1. People who respect and trust me. 
  2. People who share my values.
  3. Opportunities where I make a difference using my passion and talent.

Release people by showing respect, building trust, sharing values, and giving people opportunities to make a difference.

How might leaders create environments where people are released more than controlled?